Modern Restaurant Concepts and The Franchise Playbook

This edition of MRM’s News Bites features  Modern Restaurant Concepts, Panda Selected,  SOCi,The National Restaurant Association Show , Shake Shack, Kitchen United,  Como and Revel Systems, Thanx and Tommy Bahama, Harri and the New York City Hospitality Alliance, QSR Automations, Ocean Prime, Anthony Bruno, Yumpingo and Rosa Mexicano, Retail and Hospitality ISAC, xtraCHEF, Unilever Food Solutions and Restaurant Depot.

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Modern Restaurant Concepts Launches

Lemonade Restaurant Group and Modern Market Eatery have merged to form Modern Restaurant Concepts. Both brands are portfolio companies of Butterfly, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm specializing in the food sector. As part of the transaction, global investment firm KKR will contribute its investment in Lemonade to the merger and become a shareholder in Modern Restaurant Concepts alongside Butterfly and the management team.

Modern Market Eatery's Old Town Scottsdale restaurant.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With a combined footprint of 58 restaurants across 10 markets including Denver, Austin, Dallas, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County, Modern Restaurant Concepts has a national presence with room for expansion. The Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery brands will each continue to operate and expand both in existing and new markets via corporate growth in addition to franchising and licensing.

Modern Restaurant Concepts will be led by Anthony Pigliacampo and Rob McColgan, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Modern Market Eatery, while Larry Kurzweil, most recent CEO of Lemonade, will resume his role as Operating Partner of Butterfly and advisor to the company.

Modern Restaurant Concepts also hired restaurant executive Jim Sullivan, former Chief Development Officer of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's parent CKE Restaurant Holdings, as Chief Development Officer. 

"We are thrilled to partner with Lemonade in the continued pursuit of fulfilling our mission of serving delicious, healthy food to as many people as possible," said Pigliacampo, Co-CEO of Modern Restaurant Concepts. "This merger creates a platform with the scale necessary to truly disrupt the restaurant landscape."

Lemonade's Venice, Los Angeles restaurant.

"Lemonade's merger with Modern Market Eatery is a major inflection point in the development of both brands, and we look forward to joining forces with the Modern Market Eatery team," said Lemonade Co-Founder Ian Olsen.

"After working extensively with Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery over the last few years, we are confident that this merger will combine two powerful brands with an incredible team," said Butterfly Co-Founder Adam Waglay. "We're excited to continue to work alongside these two highly-differentiated concepts to expand their footprint throughout the country and internationally," added Dustin Beck, Butterfly's other Co-Founder.

"With Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery under one roof, we will have an offering that will thrive in more markets and non-traditional foodservice outlets across the U.S. than any comparable single-concept company," said Sullivan. "We look forward to partnering with franchisees and landlords across the country to bring these great concepts to their markets and customers."

Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal advisor to Butterfly and Lemonade, while Davis Wright Tremaine acted as legal advisor to Modern Market Eatery.

Panda Selected Closes $50M Series C 

Panda Selected, the leading shared kitchen provider in China raised $50 million in Series C financing led by Tiger Global with participation from its existing investors DCM and GenBridge Capital. This round brings Panda Selected’s total funding to $80 million to date, and the new funds will pave the way for expansion to new markets across China and strengthen Panda’s merchant services.

China’s food-delivery market is worth $33 billion dollars, almost double the size of the US market (source). With 120 locations that cover China’s major business hubs and regions including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen, Panda Selected has established a leading position in the shared kitchen market with the largest operating scale in China. The new investment will grow the company’s current footprint by doubling their amount of locations over the next eight months.

“In the past three years, Panda Selected has rapidly developed to keep pace with the transforming catering industry in China,” said Li Haipeng, CEO and founder of Panda Selected. “With this round of financing, we expect to further extend our leadership position by rapidly expanding to serve more cities and core business districts, more locations with more offerings, and continuing to improve services and help our merchants operate better and faster.”

The shared kitchen concept is an emerging trend in China that enables restaurants to set up kitchens to cater exclusively for customers ordering in, and share facilities with others which greatly eliminates overhead costs. As food industry entrepreneurs struggle to afford the traditional restaurant model, Panda Selected serves as the complete solution for restaurateurs and provides commercial real estate, operation management, supply chain and brand promotion for catering enterprises.

“The shared kitchen concept is a critical piece to keeping up with China’s $33 billion food-delivery market,” said Hurst Lin, co-founder of DCM China and general partner. “Panda Selected's phenomenal growth trajectory is a testament to the ability of its experienced management team to scale up efficiently.”

The Beijing-based startup, Panda Selected, helps catering companies achieve rapid business growth and make catering operations and entrepreneurship simple. The company has more than 800 domestic catering brands, which include Haidilao, Kungfu, Luckin Coffee, Hallasan, Wallance, and TubeStation.

Established in 2016, Beijing-based Panda Selected is a catering–oriented service platform. Panda Selected employs the shared kitchen model to provide catering enterprises with integrated solutions including commercial real estate, operation management, supply chain, brand promotion to better optimize the catering industry. With 120 locations covering Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Shenzhen, the company has become the leading shared kitchen brand in China. Panda Selected is committed to make catering operation simple and restaurant entrepreneurship easier.

The Franchise Playbook

SOCi launched a new playbook outlining the untapped marketing opportunities national franchise brands have when it comes to localized social marketing. The Franchise Playbook for Localized Social Marketing shares extensive guidance and recommendations for both franchisors and franchisees on developing and refining a comprehensive local strategy.

“With 72 percent of brand engagement happening on local social pages, nothing today is more important for franchise organizations than the ability to maximize their local social presence. If you don’t already have or plan to create a localized social marketing strategy, you’re putting your business at a significant disadvantage when it comes to regional – and national – brand visibility,” said Monica Ho, SOCi’s Chief Marketing Officer.

For franchise brands, everything from official social page content and online brand mentions to ratings and reviews left for individual franchise locations can directly impact the brand’s national perception. SOCi’s playbook, available for download now, breaks down essential places to establish a localized social presence – platforms like Facebook and Twitter, along with local business review sites like Yelp and Google My Business. The guide also underscores the five essential steps to achieving localized social success:

1. Establishing goals
2. Building and maintaining a social presence
3. Managing customer care
4. Leveraging social for growth
5. Measuring performance and success

SOCi also outlines some of the common pitfalls brands make when it comes to social media, like failing to centralize ownership of local business pages and over-complicating workflow. Perhaps the most critical pitfall of all, however, is ignoring comments and reviews. Almost 90 percent of consumers are willing to change a negative review based on how the business responds.

Added Ho: “Finding your place in localized social marketing doesn’t have to be daunting. When deployed correctly across platforms you can manage, a smart locally-focused social media strategy can expand the reach of your brand and create genuine connections to an engaged base of loyal customers. Nothing else today has the power to directly impact loyalty and, ultimately, revenue.”

Kitchen Innovation Awards

The National Restaurant Association Show today announces the recipients of the 2019 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards, honoring progressive equipment that increases efficiencies and productivity. Each recipient and each product honoree will be showcased in the interactive Kitchen Innovations Showroom at the 2019 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®, to be held May 18-21 in Chicago at McCormick Place. The KI Showroom allows attendees the opportunity see emerging back-of-house trends in one place dedicated area.

The KI Awards program has earned a reputation for defining the gold standard of foodservice equipment innovations. “Forward-thinking and cutting-edge, this is the equipment that generates industry growth through a focus on factors such as automation, efficiency, safety improvements, sustainability, waste solutions, and more,” says Scott Redler, COOand co-founder of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and Co-Chair for the 2019 National Restaurant Association Show. “We are honored to showcase their dedication to the industry.”

Chosen by an independent panel of judges comprised of industry leaders and internationally recognized food facility consultants, multi-unit executives, and design experts, the 2019 KI Award recipients reflect the trends and topics most important to foodservice operators today – and showcase the future of the industry. The 25 selected award recipients address operator concerns including labor, inventory management, cleanliness, energy and water efficiency, food safety, sanitation, cross-functionality and space-saving measures. 

The 2019 Kitchen Innovations Award recipients are:


Jet Steamer JS-1000

A blank-sheet rethink of countertop steaming: the Jet Steamer injects high-velocity steam into controlled bursts in a closed pitcher for complete penetration throughout the food within the pitcher, allowing for significantly faster cook times. The steam also mixes ingredients, saving operators time when preparing items such as soups, eggs, and chili.

Apex Supply Chain Technologies

AXCESS 2000.H Pick-Up Station

Co-developed with Little Caesars, the AXCESS™ 2000.H Pick-Up Station is the industry’s first heated, self-serve order pick-up station. As orders are placed inside the device, an app notifies customers. Customers skip the line, input their pick-up code, opening the customers’ secured compartment containing their order. Customers grab their order and leave the store in seconds.

Baxter Manufacturing

BV400G VersaOven

Presenting a new level of versatility, the VersaOven is a self-cleaning, programmable gas rack oven that offers convection and non-boiler steam to serve as a steamer, rotisserie, convection oven, and combi oven for fast cooking. A rotating rack provides even roasting or baking. A patent-pending grease separation system aids in the cleaning.

Bear Robotics


Meet Penny, a foodservice robot with artificial intelligence that drives autonomously. Designed to maneuver in tight, crowded quarters, Penny shuttles food from kitchen to tables and brings dishes back for cleaning.  Tray shape, suspension, everything is optimized for foodservice needs. Penny 2 will feature an upgraded design a tablet, communicate with customers and take orders.  

Bluewater USA

Bluewater PRO 400 Water Purification System

A tankless design streamlines the Pro 400 reverse-osmosis system, which filters a broad array of contaminants for one or more appliances, from dishwashers and ice makers to steamers and coffee makers.  The system produces up to 1825 gallons daily. An optional storage tank accommodates very high demand use, without affecting the efficiency and performance of the purifier.

Chicago Bar Shop            


Finally, someone automates the three-compartment sink. SinkTech uses sensors to determine water levels, temperature, and cleanliness. It automatically drains and fills sinks and saves time, energy, water, and money. It’s compact, installs without plumbing, and doesn’t interfere with washing or scrubbers. And it’s connected to the cloud for data on usage and compliance.


Sally the Robot

Imagine providing fresh made-to-order foods 24/7 virtually anywhere, without on-duty labor. Sally the Robot serves customizable salads, yogurt bowls, grain bowls, and snacks using sophisticated robotics and algorithms to dispense accurate portions of hundreds of different ingredients. Sally delivers precise portions in a 3’ x 3’ footprint with a 120V socket. 

CM Systems LLC


ComplianceMate takes digital checklists and wireless temperature sensors to the next level with its first-in-foodservice LoRa (long range) communication protocol. Patented software and lower-cost LoRa transmits farther, using less battery power, than Bluetooth in difficult transmission environs like stainless steel deep freezers. Cloud-based data lets you identify trends across multiple locations.

Cornelius® Marmon/Berkshire Hathway Company


Answering the challenge of bringing down the size of systems for nitrogenated coffee and other beverages, the NitroPro™ Mini goes tankless—no nitrogen storage needed—instead generating its own nitro onboard, and has reduced the size of air compressors, valves, and flow controls. The result: simpler operation, simplified supply chain, and more compact footprint.


Advanced Health Department Intelligence (HDI)

Ecolab’s newly reinvented HDI program capitalizes on next generation technologies and a raft of new analytics for a whole new, greatly magnified view of health department activities across the country. It’s expanded the database to over 1.5M locations from 65,000+. Real-time alerts on numerous categories, data retrieval, and customer-facing dashboards all are cutting edge.


PrecisionBrew Air-Heated Shuttle Brewers

Grindmaster’s new Shuttle Brewers step up with a new level of sophistication. An advanced touchscreen offers detailed settings for time, temperature, pulsing, and more to match roasters’ specs. A magnetically driven agitator prevents suspended solids from settling, and shuttles are heated by recirculating hot air rather than electric coils that cause hot spots and scorching. 

Henny Penny


The first of its kind, FlexFry offers a combination of open frying and pressure frying in the same battery footprint. The new combo includes Henny Penny's F-5 electric low oil volume platform and 2, 3 or 4 vats of pressure frying. Touchscreen interface, three-minute express filtration and auto top-off on the F-5 and for pressure frying an easy open/close lid and pressure assist technology.

Henny Penny

Space$aver Team Combi

Unique in the U.S. market, the Space$aver Team combi combines two stacked, independently operated combis in a single frame and shell, with a single power cord and all the serviceable components centralized below. The 22”- wide footprint is topped with an integrated ventless hood using four-stage filtration for grease and vapors requiring no catalytic converter.

Hobart Corporation

FT1000e Low Energy Series

Sometimes refinements are so comprehensive they amount to reinvention. This new flight-type warewasher features redesigned wash, airflow, and heat-retention elements, enabling use of lower electrical-draw components such as pumps, motors, heaters, etc. Result: 12%-20+% energy reduction depending on configuration, and smaller circuit breakers, all while maintaining wash quality. 



Small is good. Hoshizaki has found a way to dispense four kinds of water—chilled, hot, alkaline, and sparkling—in the smallest footprint ever. Patented technology chills and carbonates water on demand without a carbonator tank. No tank, no pressurizing pump needed. It all saves space and maintenance.


Kitchen Management System

Choosing KMS software can be challenging, but Jamix sets itself apart on several points. Whereas many offer recipe and menu management and costing, Jamix also ties in inventory management and procurement. Plus, it’s true cloud-based, and can be accessed with any browser, any operating system, any mobile device. Perhaps best of all, it’s extremely intuitive.  


TwinPour Beverage Dispenser

 Lots of unique features in this new dispenser. In a 44” counterspace, TwinPour offers two dispense points and 266 flavors, allowing two customers to be served simultaneously. Each side accepts any style of ice and offers two choices. TwinPour dispenses all ice types and can be configured to dispense two types at the same time.  Additional chilled water lines serve as cooling system for ancillary pieces of equipment.

Manitowoc Ice/Welbilt Corp.

Indigo NXT

Ice production and efficiency. The Indigo NXT line achieves both, with refinements that enable a combination of efficient rotary compressors and environmentally friendly R410a refrigerant, neither seen before in U.S. icemaking. In fact, Indigo NXT produces roughly 50 lbs. more ice daily and is an average of 11% more efficient than models using R404a.

Merco, a Welbilt Brand

Visual Holding Cabinet with Tray Tracking Technology

Everyone knows how timers work. You set them, and they count down. Merco’s new Tray Tracking Technology takes it up a notch. Insert a tray and the timer starts automatically and counts down—and if you need to move the tray, the timer electronically stays with it, tracks to the new location, and continues counting.


UltraVent Plus

With the recirculating ventless hood market heating up, RATIONAL has come up with the UltraVent Plus, the first one that is retrofittable, incorporates four filters and requires no catalytic converter for grilling and roasting, and comes in a configuration that can be retrofitted even to RATIONAL Combi-Duo stacked electric countertop combis. 

Tortilla Masters Equipment

TM-105 Ventura Flex PL Tabletop Corn Tortilla Machine

Filling a huge hole in the U.S. market, Tortilla Masters introduces Ventura Flex, the first electric tabletop corn tortilla machine. At just 2’ x 2’, with a small high-torque motor, Ventura Flex produces up to 840 corn tortillas per hour. Molds and settings produce different sizes and thicknesses.


Data Driven Cooking 

Everyone has cooking software. Data Driven Cooking is different. DDC monitors oven usage, analyzing and recording cooking times, menu items, energy and water use, etc. And artificial intelligence uses that data to recommend operational patterns, new recipes, and more. Further, sensors in the oven calculate volume and mass and adjust cook times for different size batches.

Vollrath Company

Modular Induction Dry Well Drop-In

Induction dry well drop-ins are known for eliminating the water-related chores and expenses of traditional steam wells and slashing energy use by more than half. Vollrath’s new system features two independent induction zones per well, and unlike any before it, uses capsules in each zone with fold-in, fold-out legs to accommodate both 2.5”- and 4”- deep full-size or half-size pans.

VT Burner Technology in conjunction with Venancio USA

VT Burner

Infrared cooking offers speed and other advantages, but conventional IR burners generate IR through ceramic shields that are prone to cracking and replacement. Retrofittable VT Burner is cast steel, with a patented layered design that requires no ceramics to generate IR energy. It’s IR-fast, inexpensive, durable, and cuts gas consumption compared to standard burners.

Vulcan, a division of ITW Food Equipment Group

Versatile Chef Station

The new Versatile Chef Station is a compact multi-function cooking station that serves as a griddle, saucepan, braising pan, steamer, pasta cooker, rethermalizer, and fryer all in one—and with its patented multilayered cooking surface, it’s faster, more accurate, more even, and easier to clean than a braising pan.

The 25 KI Award recipients were selected by an independent panel of judges who are distinguished leaders in the foodservice industry. The 2019 Kitchen Innovations judges are: 

Dan Bendall (Principal, FoodStrategy, Inc.) 

David Chislett, FCSI (Executive Principal, Ricca Design Studios)

Jeff Cook (Chief Engineer, Restaurant Solutions Group, McDonald’s Corporation)

Richard Eisenbarth, FCSI (President/COO, Cini-Little International)

Foster F. Frable, Jr., FCSI Associate AIA (President, Clevenger Frable LaVallee)

Randy Homer(Program Manager, Food & Beverage Operations Asset Management, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts)

Jim Krueger, Jr., CMCE, NRAMF(Chief, Air Force Food & Beverage Policy, Procedures, Business Development & Strategic Initiatives Air Force Services Activity (AFSVA) Food & Beverage Branch)

Steve Otto(Director, Capital Equipment Purchasing, Darden) 

Jim Thorpe(Senior Food Service Designer, Aramark) 

For more information about the KI program and this year's award recipients, visit 2019 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards.

Shake Shack Adds to Team

Shake Shack announced the appointments of Chief Development Officer, Chief Global Licensing Officer, Chief Information Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, as well as the addition of its ninth board member. All four positions represent new roles at the company, filled with a balanced team of internal and external talent. With sizeable growth ahead and a relentless focus on excellence, experience and hospitality, Shake Shack’s team of senior leaders will be instrumental in its strategic growth.

Andrew McCaughan, formerly Vice President of Development at Shake Shack, has been promoted to Chief Development Officer, effective February 28, 2019. He will be responsible for the overall growth of the company, leading the real estate strategy, design, construction and facilities functions. Since joining the company in 2010 with just three Shacks, Andrew has developed and led a best in class development team, secured iconic real estate in numerous new markets, and guided the restaurant’s design vision to constantly enhance the guest experience. Now with over 200 restaurants worldwide, Andrew actively focuses on orchestrating the extension of brand and digital experience into the physicality of the restaurant, while leading strategic growth and development of new locations. Prior to joining Shake Shack, Andrew worked in multiple facets for renowned Chef and Restaurateur Rick Bayless. It was under Bayless that Andrew cultivated his passion for the restaurant business, from fine dining to street food.

Michael Kark, formerly Vice President of Global Licensing at Shake Shack, has been promoted to Chief Global Licensing Officer, effective February 28, 2019. He will be responsible for overseeing the company's rapidly expanding licensed partnerships around the world. Michael has led our international business since nascent stages in 2012, having established pivotal partnerships and developed an extraordinary organization capable of building our business around the globe. Over the past eight years, Michael has launched Shake Shack across the UK, Middle East, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and Turkey alongside some of the industry's most admirable partners. In addition, Michael actively pursues business development for future partnerships while managing cross-functional teams including operations, real estate, marketing, design, culinary and supply chain. Before joining Shake Shack, Michael spent eight years overseeing operations at Chipotle—one of the world's industry-shaping QSR brands. Prior to that, Michael spent four years with Marriott International supporting world-class hospitality.

“Investment in our teams and developing future leaders from within has always been incredibly important at Shake Shack. We believe the unity that we have built amongst our teams and across the company is a key driver of our ability to deliver a great guest experience and successfully grow our footprint”, said Randy Garutti, Shake Shack CEO. “We’re proud to name Andrew McCaughan as Chief Development Officer and Michael Kark as Chief Global Licensing Officer, two individuals that have grown with me and the Shake Shack Leadership Team over the years and have a proven ability to lead, execute and inspire. As we continue to build community gathering places across the U.S. and around the globe, both Andrew and Michael will be instrumental.”  

Dave Harris has been named as Chief Information Officer and will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of technology at Shake Shack. Dave comes with a breadth of experience across digital innovation and technology-enabled growth in large multi-unit environments. Prior to joining Shake Shack, Dave served as Vice President of Digital Technology at Newell Brands, a publicly traded consumer goods company, where he had global responsibility for the eCommerce and Digital Marketing technology across their diverse portfolio of brands including Sharpie, Elmers, Contigo, Graco, Calphalon, Coleman, Marmot, Rubbermaid and Yankee Candle. He has led the delivery of multiple tech transformation initiatives ranging from creating new commerce websites, optimizing checkout to increase conversion, developing new analytics capabilities, and building a cohesive data-centric view of consumers across Newell's brands. Before Newell, Dave was CIO at Yankee Candle where he was responsible for leading the global IT function. There, he led the development of their omnichannel strategy which included deployment of a new POS across 600+ retail stores as well as the implementation of the web, mobile and kiosk technology.  Prior to joining Yankee Candle, Dave held various technology leadership roles at Legends, jetBlue Airways, Avis Rent A Car and Virgin Atlantic Airways, where he developed and led teams responsible for consumer websites, reservations and POS systems, loyalty programs, information security, infrastructure, operations and compliance.

“Shake Shack is experiencing incredible growth and now more than ever, our leadership teams will be key to our success”, said Randy Garutti, Shake Shack CEO. “We’re thrilled to welcome Dave Harris as CIO and Jay Livingston as CMO. With a continued focus on cultivating a connected community through the strength of our brand and the evolution of our digital products, Dave and Jay’s partnership will be integral in forwarding a personalized dialogue with our guests, building the infrastructure needed to support innovation, and honing in on the intersection of convenience and excellence in experience through tech.”

The search for CIO and CMO was conducted by True Search. 

Shake Shack also welcomes a new member to its Board of Directors with the appointment of Sumaiya Balbale, effective March 19, 2019. A skilled executive with years of experience in e-commerce, digital media and marketing technology and analytics, Sumaiya will become the ninth member of Shake Shack's Board of Directors. Sumaiya was the Vice President of E-commerce, Mobile and Digital Marketing for Walmart US from January 2017 to February 2019. In her role she helped deliver two consecutive years of significant double digit growth for the e-commerce business while also leading and transforming the digital media, social media, marketing analytics and marketing technology capabilities of the organization. Sumaiya joined Walmart after the retailer purchased in September 2016.  An early member of the Jet team, she led all consumer marketing for the startup including brand, acquisition and retention efforts. In addition to growing the Jet business to a $1B run rate in the first 12 months, she also created award-winning advertising for the brand which won the Cannes Media Grand Prix in 2017. Sumaiya served as VP of Marketing at Jet from September 2014 through October 2017.  Prior to Jet, Sumaiya held leadership roles at multiple Amazon e-commerce verticals including, and Before venturing into eCommerce, Sumaiya spent time as a brand strategist in advertising, working at FCB and Deutsch for clients such as IKEA, Novartis, and SC Johnson. Sumaiya is a graduate of Harvard Business School and Brown University.  She was named one of Fortune’s 40 under 40 in 2018. 

"Shake Shack has an incredible brand and I've long admired it's unique ability to create a passionate customer following by building great customer experiences," said Balbale.  "As Shake Shack continues to expand, I'm excited to leverage my expertise in brand, e-commerce, and digital marketing to help guide their growth."

Kitchen United Adds to Team, Inks Deals

Kitchen United, the virtual restaurant center for innovative brands building off-premise through pickup and delivery, announced a series of executive team hires to support its national rollout and expansion plans.  As Kitchen United embarks on its plans to open 15 kitchen centers by the end of 2019, the company is pleased to announce the following additions to its leadership ranks:

  • Michael Montagano has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Montagano has strong expertise scaling concepts, joining from Mopro where he grew the brand into an international technology company that assists restaurants in establishing and expanding their digital presence. Mr. Montagano is a respected and multi-faceted leader, having served as a lead M&A and Corporate Finance attorney for Faegre, Baker & Daniels, LLP as well as a democratic nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in Indiana. Mr. Montagano received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and finance from DePauw University, his Juris Doctorate from Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law, and his Masters of Business Administration from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
  • Craig Cochrane has joined as Executive Vice President of Marketing, where he will spearhead all marketing efforts for Kitchen United on a local and national basis, and will also advise restaurant partners on how best to maximize the relationship. Mr. Cochrane is a seasoned marketing executive and has created and implemented multi-channel marketing strategies that have directly improved sales and visibility for various brands in the entertainment, technology and real estate industries.  He most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy for the Special Olympics World Games. Mr. Cochrane received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Harvard University, and his Masters of Business Administration from University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.
  • Jessi Moss has joined as Executive Vice President of Information Technology and brings vast experience in the restaurant, retail, food and beverage supply chain industries to Kitchen United. He is a highly accomplished IT Executive & Technologist with deep expertise in developing and implementing customer facing systems and infrastructure. Prior to Kitchen United, he led the business technology initiatives for Pick Up Stix, Leeann Chin, Mandarin Express, and City Brewing Company. Mr. Moss is a graduate of Viterbo University.
  •  Joy Chang-Lai has joined the company as Executive Vice President, Data Strategy & Revenue Growth. With robust experience driving strategic growth, Ms. Chang-Lai most recently served as Vice President of Corporate Strategy and General Manager, Travel for Internet Brands and previously held positions at The Wonderful Company, Bain & Company, and Chevron. Ms. Lai received a Bachelor of Science in business administration and computer science from the University of California, Berkley, and a Master of Science in management science and engineering from Stanford University. 

“We are very proud to have built a first class leadership team at Kitchen United as we continue on our path toward becoming a national brand that serves an important function in the growth of leading restaurant brands,” said Jim Collins, CEO of Kitchen United.  “Our management team not only guides our own business, but plays an important advisory role to the restaurant partners that we work with.  We are proud to welcome Michael, Craig, Jessi and Joy to the Kitchen United family.”

The company signed lease agreements for kitchen centers in Columbus, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia. Both locations are expected to open Spring 2019 and are part of the company’s significant national expansion plan aimed to support the dramatic, consumer driven shift toward off-premise food consumption.  

With off-premise sales estimated to climb to 70 to 80 percent of annual restaurant industry growth by 2023, according to Cowen, Kitchen United offers restaurant concepts the opportunity to utilize commercial kitchen spaces to grow revenue by expanding their off-premise delivery, pickup and catering business. Kitchen United’s kitchen space helps restaurant operators streamline off-premise pickup and delivery without disrupting dine-in customers and allows brands to enter new markets without the costly build-out of a new restaurant. The company also provides its restaurant partners with consumer and operational insights in order to customize their business to best meet local demand, improve productivity and drive increased revenue. 

Located at 1471-1481 West Goodale Boulevard in Grandview Heights, the Columbus Kitchen Center is near the redeveloped Grandview Yard and close to major thoroughfares, downtown Columbus, The Ohio State University, and the dense inner suburbs of Grandview Heights and Upper Arlington.  The centralized location eases access and drive times for customers and third-party delivery drivers alike.

“Our goal at Kitchen United is to help restaurants effectively and efficiently capitalize on growing consumer demand and increase revenue either by entering a new market or neighborhood in a cost effective way or by easing the operational challenge created by consumers who want to be anywhere but inside the restaurant,” said Jim Collins, Chief Executive Officer of Kitchen United. “Our Grandview Heights location provides easy access to the suburbs as well as downtown, allowing delivery service providers and pickup customers a quick and convenient spot to collect their meals.”

Located in a high-growth area of Atlanta, the West Midtown Kitchen Center will be inside a newly redeveloped creative office, where restaurant partners will be an amenity to office workers. The location offers access to the Georgia Institute of Technology via side streets, enabling drivers to avoid freeway traffic, therefore reducing estimated delivery times.

“West Midtown is an up-and-coming Millennial hotspot with high residential growth and office space, as well as a variety of trending restaurants and shops,” stated Meredith Sandland, Chief Operating Officer for Kitchen United. “In close proximity to Georgia Tech, this location offers restaurants not only the ability to respond to customer demand but also create deeper brand connections with a key demographic that has made known their delivery and pickup preferences.”

Como and Revel Partner

 Como was named a Revel Systems' strategic partner. As a Strategic Partner of Revel, Como will provide new product bundles and increased product integration to provide Revel clients with a best-in-class customer experience with proven ROI. 

“For the last 18 months, we have worked together to provide restaurant and retail chains with an integrated point-of-sale (POS) and customer engagement solution,” said Yair Holtzer, President of Como America. “The combination of Como Sense’s data-driven marketing tools with Revel System’s powerful POS has enabled our mutual clients to deliver a seamless customer engagement solution that incorporates a branded mobile app, a wide choice of loyalty programs, actionable business insights, and marketing automation in order to deliver the right incentives at the right time.”

Some joint clients of Como and Revel Systems include Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee, 7Leaves, Lemon Shark, Squisito Pizza, Pecos Pit, It’s Boba Time, The Bean NYC, and Over the Top Cake Supplies.

“We are excited about the strong market acceptance of the joint Revel and Como solution, and we’re looking forward to providing merchants with a more robust and feature rich combined loyalty and POS offering that arms merchants with meaningful analytics to help grow their business and increase customer spend,” said Chris Lybeer, Chief Strategy Officer, Revel Systems. “Revel is committed to partnering with vendors such as Como that help our clients meet their rapidly evolving digital commerce initiatives.”

Thanx Expands Partnership with Tommy Bahama

Thanx expanded its partnership with Tommy Bahama to effectively engage and retain its restaurant customers nationwide with Thanx Campaigns. 

Tommy Bahama selected Thanx Campaigns to power multi-channel, segmented, and personalized campaigns to consumers. The Thanx customer engagement platform syncs with the guests’ selected form of payment, allowing for a true view of the customer’s purchasing behavior while giving operators the opportunity to measure the impact and success of every campaigns by looking at the most important metric: revenue earned.

“Our retail stores are data-driven, however, we needed that same level of insight into our restaurant business. Thanx Campaigns was the clear choice as we are now able to understand our restaurant customers better than ever and make real-time marketing decisions based on their immediate behavior to deliver the most targeted, action-driven communication to our guests,” said Rob Goldberg, Executive Vice President, Restaurants & Bars for Tommy Bahama. “The initial rollout was so successful that we quickly saw the value of implementing this tool across our restaurants on a national level in order to drive brand loyalty and customer engagement in a meaningful way.”

Thanx Campaigns uses consumer behavior to best determine what type of marketing message should be sent to each consumer by aligning customer preferences with their preferred method of communication – email, SMS, or push notification. Every campaign produces a precisely calculated incremental revenue measure through control groups and Thanx’s proprietary credit card and POS integrations to provide a quantitative measure of success.

“We are thrilled to take our relationship with Tommy Bahama to the next level with the national expansion of Thanx Campaigns,” said Thanx CEO and Founder, Zach Goldstein. “In less than six months, Tommy Bahama saw increased engagement, customer satisfaction and revenue with Thanx Campaigns and we’re confident our platform will continue to help Tommy Bahama own conversations with customers on a deeper level to amplify loyalty, and ultimately drive greater revenue at restaurants across the nation.”

Digital Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Training Platform

Harri  announced, in partnership with the New York City Hospitality Alliance, a new digital anti-harassment and discrimination training platform for restaurants and nightlife establishments. The platform will provide hospitality-relevant training modules for employees, using a curriculum developed in partnership with Fox Rothschild LLP that fully complies with the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act. 
“Acts of harassment and discrimination have no place in our people-centric industry,” said Luke Fryer, Founder and CEO, Harri. “Aside from the entertainment industry, no other professional community was as seismically impacted by the #MeToo movement. The operational realities of the hospitality workplace require a more intensive and curated approach to educating our employees regarding workplace behaviors. The potential for damage is significant to both employees and owners, which is why Harri is taking an active role alongside our partners at the New York City Hospitality Alliance to help our clients mitigate risk and improve the integrity of the restaurant workplace.”

The platform, a module within Harri’s TeamLive workforce management suite, will comply with New York City and State requirements and will exceed the minimum legal standards by covering anti-discrimination laws. In doing so, the platform is intended to help cover two of the industry's biggest blind spots. With the rise of minimum wage impacting profitability and a seemingly unstoppable onslaught of employee-related legislation, the industry requires a comprehensive solution to risk mitigation and help in ensuring that restaurants are a fair, safe, and welcoming place to work.  Specific features of the platform will include: 

  • Training Customized for the Hospitality Industry
  • Content Covering Anti-Harassment and Discrimination
  • Streamlined Platform Providing Legal Compliance
  • Audit-Friendly Functionality Providing Employee Completion Status and Record
  • Platform will be available in both English and Spanish

“We must stop sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and help ensure our members comply with the newly enacted anti-harassment training requirements. That’s why we’re proud to partner with Harri to provide restaurants and nightlife establishments a high-quality training program that’s customized for the hospitality industry workplace,” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director, NYC Hospitality Alliance.

The platform will be hosted by Harri and available starting April 2019. For more information, click here

QSR Automations Opens Innovation Room

QSR Automations opened its new innovation room located in Ganton Street, London. The facility is designed to showcase premier smart restaurant management solutions to QSR’s customers and potential clients to include ConnectSmart Kitchen and DineTime.

“We’re excited about our continued expansion in London and were fortunate to have found a location in SoHo,” said Lee Leet, founder and CEO of QSR Automations. “With the addition of this innovation room, restaurant operators will have a customised and hands-on experience with our software and hardware offerings. This location offers easy access, but also provides a way for operators to grasp the technology’s impact on their operations before committing to working with us. We want our clients to be comfortable with the technology, and this is the best way to do so,” says Leet.

According to Statista, the statistics portal that pulls from more than 22,500 sources, restaurants in the U.K. have seen a steady increase since 2010 and the number of food establishments, including mobile food service offerings stood at more than 85,000 by the end of 2017. Operators of those food businesses are finding that restaurant technology can transform operations, to gain a competitive advantage. Exploration of these transformative technologies are made easier for London’s restaurant operators through access to QSR’s new innovation room.

“This investment reinforces our commitment to improve the dining experience, whilst helping operators use technology to become more successful and enhance the guest experience. By placing the innovation room in the heart of London’s restaurant & cultural center, operators can personally see a hardware setup, use the software, provide feedback, and get operational advice from the global leaders in restaurant management solutions,” said Ashley Sheppard, vice president of sales, who identified the innovation room as a catalyst for QSR Automations’ continued growth and success internationally.  

Ocean Prime Expands

Ocean Prime, the modern American restaurant and lounge from Cameron Mitchell,  will open its Chicago location this April.  Located in the Shops at LondonHouse at the corner of North Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, the restaurant will be open for weekday lunch and nightly dinner.

“We’re thrilled to open an Ocean Prime in Chicago, a city we’ve had our sights set on for quite a while,” says Cameron Mitchell, Founder and CEO of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants and a past recipient of the Richard Melman Concepts of Tomorrow Award. “When we toured the dramatic, beautiful space, looked out across the Chicago River through its floor-to-ceiling windows, and felt the energy of the neighborhood, we knew the time was right.” 

Under the direction of Executive Chef Jason Shelley, Ocean Prime’s from-scratch kitchen will provide both  Chicago locals  and  visitors  alike with  a  premium dining  experience that includes the highest quality ingredients, as well as simple, pure, local and regional flavors. Shelley has been been a part of the Cameron Mitchell Restaurants family since 2004.  Most recently, he was  the opening Executive Chef at the popular and highly-acclaimed Ocean Prime D.C.  Leading the front of house as General Manager is industry veteran Louis Morgan III.  Morgan’s previous role was General Manager of Ocean Prime Troy, where he was twice-awarded Cameron Mitchell Restaurants’ “General Manager of the Year” award for his commitment to exceeding Ocean Prime’s high standards of extraordinary hospitality. 

The restaurant, designed by Mark Knauer of Chicago-based Knauer, Inc., is slated to be 12,350 square feet. From the moment, the guest exits their car, they are greeted with an unapologetically luxe experience as they enter the heated canopy covered entry. The two-story lobby is wrapped with illuminated transparencies of Chicago’s history. At the second floor, as one looks in to the bar area, fluted and gilded column enclosures are centered in the room with exceptionally large wedding cake chandeliers cascading from the ceiling, reminiscent of Chicago architecture. From there, the guest experiences an extraordinary marble top island bar anchored by a multi-tiered liquor display and a collection of antique barware. The bar room is illuminated on one side through large picture windows overlooking Wacker Drive and the Chicago River. On the other side, Atelier Olschinsky stylized paintings of the Chicago cityscape are back illuminated. On the third wall, entering into the dining room, the guests walk through the wine room, which then leads to another set of dining rooms, further offering a variety of unique experiences.

“All design elements are woven together like a fabric, inspired by the unique vibe of Chicago while providing a dramatic and unapologetically luxe experience for the guests,” says Knauer. “Ocean Prime Chicago is an extraordinary dining experience. An extraordinary and unique to Chicago dining experience that differs from any other Ocean Prime restaurant, while still maintaining the unmatched hospitality and high quality food.” 

With two bars and ample banquette seating, the restaurant will offer up to 350 guests an ideal place to socialize, talk business, celebrate and indulge. Perfect for events, celebrations and corporate functions, its expansive private dining spaces overlooking Michigan Avenue will include four rooms:The Tribune Room, set to  accommodate up to 14 guests,  Wrigley Room 1, which accommodates up to 18 guests, and Wrigley Rooms 2 and 3 accommodating up to 24 guests each. For larger scale events, patrons can use all three Wrigley Rooms, which will hold up to 66 guests when combined.

Anthony's Pronto Kitchen Concept

Anthony Bruno, founder of Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Andy’s Live Fire Grill and Bar, and Anthony’s Runway-84,  opened Anthony’s Pronto Kitchen, featuring authentic Italian classics strictly for takeout and delivery. The original founding team from Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, along with Dan Marino are launching the concept to respond to rising consumer demand for restaurant quality Italian food with the convenience of in-home dining.

Opening in February, Anthony’s Pronto Kitchen is centrally located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale in the Victoria Park Shoppes shopping center. Bruno is focused on the family dynamic- no matter how big your family may be- with this new concept. From individual dishes to party platters and full-scale catering, customers can order online or by phone and opt for pick-up or delivery from Anthony’s Pronto along with familiar services like Delivery Dudes, DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber Eats. Bruno asked, “Why shouldn’t you be able to enjoy great Italian food with your family or friends right in your own home without the hassle of cooking?” Some of Bruno’s favorites on the menu include The Sunday Feast, Roast Chicken Pronto Style, Lasagna Neapolitan, and his signature Meat Balls.

The tag line, “Italian Made Easy,” sums up the mission of the concept. Traditional family recipes, top quality, fresh ingredients, and high-end, reusable, earth-conscious packaging, that you can pick-up or have delivered making it easy for busy families and groups to conveniently enjoy their favorite Italian foods. Anthony’s Pronto kitchen will offer appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees, family-style meals, desserts, party platters, and custom catering delivered to homes and offices in East Fort Lauderdale.

Yumpingo Teams with Rosa Mexicano

Yumpingo launched at contemporary Mexican cuisine restaurant Rosa Mexicano, expanding its presence in the U.S. following their introduction from the U.K. into the U.S. market in 2018. Rosa Mexicano has begun utilizing Yumpingo at its flagship Lincoln Center, NYC location, with plans to quickly expand to the restaurant’s other nine locations this quarter.

“We are proud to serve authentic, regionally-inspired Mexican cuisine with warm Latin hospitality since our founding in 1984. Yumpingo empowers us to ensure that we maintain the exemplary level of service that our guests deserve,” said Chris Westcott, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rosa Mexicano. “Operating a successful restaurant requires innovation, not only in product but in how we carefully leverage technology to enhance our hospitality. Yumpingo’s solution provides prompt, valuable and actionable guest insights, which give our guests a powerful voice and allows us to hone our service in meaningful ways that benefit the guest, our staff and our bottom line.”

With restaurants receiving over 7,500 at-table food, beverage and service reviews per location per month, Yumpingo’s partnership with Rosa Mexicano will introduce big data to transform restaurant operations at its contemporary restaurants. Guests are invited to participate in a one-minute digital review on a Rosa Mexicano-branded Yumpingo device, which replaces traditional check presenters, at the end of the experience. The resulting data at scale provides management complete certainty of how to optimize customer satisfaction at location, shift, and dish level in real-time. POS integration will produce their guest checks digitally to enable a friction-free experience that enhances the overall operation.

“We are delighted to be working with Rosa Mexicano and to launch at their prestigious Lincoln Center location,” said Gary Goodman, founder and CEO of Yumpingo. “The team there completely understands the value of what we do: gather guest insight at the restaurant in a non-invasive way so that management can accurately calibrate the delivery of exceptional dishes and service. We look forward to seeing the positive results of our partnership as we expand across the Rosa Mexicano brand.”

Rosa Mexicano, owned by private-equity group TriSpan Rising Stars LLP, has reason to believe in the power of this partnership as illustrated by a recent case study released in the U.K. A 16-unit Thai concept likewise owned by TriSpan Rising Stars LLP reported a five percent sales increase in just six weeks while growing its guest experience metrics based on changes informed by the Yumpingo platform. “The success we’ve seen partnering with Yumpingo in the U.K. prompted our investment to leverage their intelligence platform in the U.S. at Rosa Mexicano,” said Jessica Kates, partner at TriSpan Rising Stars LLP.

Yumpingo delivers over 4,000 percent more reviews per restaurant than from Yelp, TripAdvisor, Opentable, Facebook and Google combined, with up to 66 percent of guests sharing their voice without any incentive and 20 percent leaving an email address. This volume and granularity of live customer sentiment allows brands to understand every facet of the customer experience, identify what needs to be fixed, develop specific actions and measure improvements.

Retail and Hospitality Information Sharing and Analysis Center Debuts

The Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC), the trusted cybersecurity community for retail and consumer-facing companies, today announced it has changed its name to the Retail and Hospitality Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RH-ISAC) to better reflect its evolving membership base and offerings.

“Retailers and hospitality companies face many of the same challenges as they continue to strengthen their defenses to better protect their customers’ and companies’ information,” explained RH-ISAC President Suzie Squier. “Incorporating ‘hospitality’ into our name reflects the growing number of hotels, gaming casinos, restaurants and consumer-product companies that are joining retailers to combat these threats.” 

“We, as an industry, must come together and join forces to manage our common cybersecurity risks,” said Colin Anderson, chair of the RH-ISAC Board of Directors and global CISO of Levi Strauss & Co. “A rising tide lifts all ships. If we as the RH-ISAC community can collaborate and help one another, then the entire industry will be stronger.”

RH-ISAC facilitates the sharing of timely threat and vulnerability information among its members and creates a variety of reports providing situational awareness, threat analysis and strategic exploration of the current challenges facing the retail and hospitality sectors. Members also share best practices through both virtual and in-person events to assist all members on their cybersecurity journey. In addition, RH-ISAC partners with other security organizations such as government agencies, law enforcement and other ISACs.

The new name is part of the evolution and growing mandate of the organization. The RH-ISAC has grown from an initial 30 companies to now serving more than 130 member companies and has expanded its operations. Recently, new personnel were added including Tactical Threat Analyst Seth Monteleone; Program Director Amy Tate, who will drive committee and member group products; and Membership Manager Lea Lubag. 

Building upon last year’s momentum, 2019 offerings will include resources such as the Threat Trend Report, co-produced with Accenture, an account takeover (ATO) resource, Anatomy of ATO, driven by its Fraud Committee, as well as additional regional workshops and events for members at the tactical, operational and strategic levels are being rolled out in 2019. 

xtraCHEF's Milestones

xtraCHEF is celebrating several exciting milestones in their startup journey as they complete their third year of operations. Launched in February 2016, the venture-backed company has expanded to 47 states and experienced an explosion of growth. 

“We recently doubled the size of our team, opened new offices in New York City and Philadelphia, and quadrupled our business in the past year alone,” said Andy Schwartz, CEO and Co-Founder of the solution used by thousands of restaurant and foodservice operators across the U.S. “We’re laser-focused on providing our clients the tools and the data they need to operate more efficiently and more profitably.”

Andy Schwartz & Bhavik Patel

The company attributes their growth to the unmet need for digital transformation in the back of the house of hospitality operations nationwide. Foodservice operators and restaurateurs are realizing the urgency to evolve in order to offset rising rents, increasing labor costs and fierce competition. For many restaurants, the extra edge has been xtraCHEF. In just three short years, xtraCHEF has added some of the most recognizable names in the industry to their client roster including: Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Chef José Andrés, growing Fast Casual brands like &pizza and Dos Toros, franchise brands like TGIFridays and Dairy Queen, and rising restaurant groups like the Michael Schulson Collective and CookNSolo, which is helmed by Philadelphia-based star chef Michael Solomonov.

"xtraCHEF is allowing us to manage our cost of goods in real-time and better than ever before,” said Solomonov. “They’ve changed the game, and I’m confident that we will be exponentially more efficient as a business because of xtraCHEF."

When clients receive a bill or invoice, they simply email, upload, or snap a photo using the mobile app, available on iOS and Android. xtraCHEF reads, reconciles, codes, and accurately categorizes each line-item on the invoice in less than 24 hours – making it actionable. Other features, including Item Price Monitoring, Declining Budgets, COGS Analytics and Ordering provide their clients with greater visibility, access and control that few, if any other restaurant management platforms can provide. Clients are able to upload bid sheets from vendors and compare the data against any item that they’ve ever purchased, along with the price they paid. This information is available while they are placing an order directly to the vendor via desktop or mobile device.

“xtraCHEF automates daily duties that operators, chefs, managers are either spending too much time doing or simply aren’t doing at all, because they don’t have the time or the tools,” said Schwartz. “We’re helping the industry transition from the ‘clipboard’ to the ‘tablet’ and from focusing on ‘data entry’ to becoming ‘data driven’.”

In 2018, xtraCHEF announced an API-level integration with Toast’s POS (Point-of-Sale) system. The POS integration synchronizes daily sales data from Toast to drive budgets and COGS (Costs of Goods Sold) dashboards without redundant data entry. Boasting over 60 integrations with the most popular accounting and restaurant managements systems, xtraCHEF is bridging a data gap that exists in the hospitality technology ecosystem. The company has also partnered with restaurant accounting firms to better serve their bookkeeping clients. They plan to continue expanding their integration and partner network in 2019.

Since first processing invoices in 2016, their platform has processed billions of dollars worth of transactions and millions of SKUs. Their recognition software leverages machine learning that continually gets smarter about the types of invoices, vendors, products and prices that it processes. While this currently lends itself to greater confidence and accuracy of the data that the system extracts, it is also able to identify patterns and anomalies in market pricing. This will eventually make it effortless for xtraCHEF clients to procure intelligently and with the confidence that they are paying what they deserve.

“We are obsessed with creating value for our customers through innovation and problem solving,” explains Bhavik Patel, CTO & Co-founder, whose experience in enterprise technology development has guided the maturity of xtraCHEF. “We strive to take the latest, greatest technology advancements and turn them into simple-to-use tools for our customers.” At a customer focus group event in late 2018, the xtraCHEF team demonstrated an interface with Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, where chefs could ask Amazon’s virtual assistant what the last price they paid for a particular item was and place an order for that item. “The response was overwhelming. Our clients were even more excited about this feature than we were,” said Patel.

“Our vision is to provide every restaurant with AI-powered procurement tools that help them maximize their profits and scale their businesses,” said Schwartz.  “We’ll continue to listen intently to our customers and invest heavily in our platform in order to help the industry get there.”

Knorr Intense Flavors

Unilever Food Solutions debuted Knorr Intense Flavors—a line of professional liquid seasonings created with real, natural ingredients and prepared through authentic culinary processes—that can help foodservice operators set their dishes apart with an exciting, distinctive range of bold flavors, top photo.

"We know that as trends and diner demands evolve, chefs and restaurateurs are under more pressure than ever to deliver creative, inspiring and flavorful menu options," said Chef Einav Gefen, Corporate Executive Chef at Unilever Food Solutions, North America. "Knorr Intense Flavors offer a creatively intuitive format for chefs to experiment with flavor and make their dishes stand out. It's just the latest step in Unilever Food Solutions' ongoing journey to provide chefs with impactful, sustainable and useful menu solutions and inspiration that excites their guests."

Marking Unilever Food Solutions' entry in the liquid seasoning category, the Knorr Intense Flavors line is made with authentic culinary processes like smoking, fermenting and roasting and can be used across every stage of the cooking process including marinating, seasoning and finishing. Knorr Intense Flavors are vegan, gluten-free and made with natural ingredients. 

To develop the global range of five variants, Unilever Food Solutions drew inspiration from today's top trends in culinary ingredients and flavors: 

  • Miso Umami provides a deep umami taste of miso fermented for 2 months, porcini mushroom and seaweed for a richness, depth, balance and roundness. 
  • Roast Umami provides a rich caramelized flavor of slow roasted onion and garlic. 
  • Citrus Fresh provides the zesty, fresh and fruity taste of mandarin, lime and yuzu, and is made from 750 g of citrus fruit per 13.5 oz. bottle. 
  • Deep Smoke provides the flavor of natural sugar smoked over charred American hardwoods for a barbecue smokiness as well as a warm richness. 
  • Wild Mushroom Earth provides a deep earthy flavor of wild mushrooms including porcini and Boletus.

The Knorr Intense Flavors line is now available across U.S. and Canada.

Restaurant Depot Opens in Milford, Massachusetts

Restaurant Depot opened its latest store in Milford, Massachusetts, on February 13. On the site of what was an undeveloped tract of land, Restaurant Depot has built a brand-new state-of-the-art facility. Everything at Restaurant Depot can be inspected to ensure quality before it is purchased. There is no minimum purchase required, meaning customers can buy exactly the amount they need without worrying about waste. “We are so excited to join the community here in Milford says branch manager Wellington Urena.

“Our new 62,000 square foot location has created 38 jobs and we are ready to help local businesses see how much they can save when they shop with us, ” Urena added. In addition to food and beverages, the store also includes a comprehensive selection of restaurant equipment and supplies including a full line of packaging solutions.

The new Milford store features RD’s industry-leading one-stop shopping which simplifies the process of buying food, equipment and supplies.   Whether you buy a few bakery supplies or enough food and tableware to cater a party for 5,000, shopping at Restaurant Depot can save you time and money.  And at Restaurant Depot, members have the option to purchase many items by the piece or by the case, saving on the unit costs accordingly.